I almost feel like saying "don't try this at home!" but I won't. You just need to be brave and confident. The first time I ever had this was at a friend's house quite a while ago, and I have never forgotten how delicious it was. I wanted to make a nice Sunday dinner and thought, why not? I could make this. I just had to remember what it was called! So, I Googled it and finally found not only what it was called, but what went into making it.
One of the main ingredients was a pork belly. I sat there and tried to figure out what a pork belly was! So I Googled where to buy pork bellies and sure enough, Whole Foods carried them. Perfect. I got to the butcher counter and found what I was looking for. A pork belly is basically a slab of uncut bacon! I never realized how thick it was....about an inch or so. Oh well, this thing was so big, the poor guy had trouble wrapping it in the paper! I took my belly and roast and made my way home. I could not only get that but the other ingredients I needed as well.
Begin by heating your oven to 275 degrees. Here's what you need:
1 pork loin or shoulder roast
2 Tbs fresh Rosemary (eyeball it...)
2 Tbs Fennel seeds
about 6 cloves of garlic
zest of 1/2 of a lemon
about 2 tsp of salt and pepper
and the famous "pork belly"
It actually was not difficult to put this together, it was just a little intimidating! I started by blending the seasoning. It is best to use your food processor to mix the rosemary, garlic, fennel seeds, salt and pepper, the lemon zest, and about 1/4 up of olive oil.
Take your roast and with a sharp knife, begin to slice along the edge of the fat and cut a spiral shape to lay the roast out flat. Take your pork belly and lay it skin side up. Using that sharp knife, score the skin to create a diamond pattern. Only cut through the skin, you don't have to go very deep. Flip it over and score the meat side in the same manner.
Spread some of the herb mixture on the pork. Use what you have left over to spread on the pork belly.
Now, roll up the pork roast and lay in the middle of the pork belly. Bring the two ends up, and use twine to keep it rolled up (this is the part where I needed an extra pair of hands!) Once it is all rolled and hog-tied (no pun intended!) I place it in my roasting pan and insert a meat thermometer. At this point, I couldn't believe how big it was! Hind-sight tells me I could have gotten a smaller roast! I kept telling myself it will shrink in the oven....it's bacon and bacon always shrinks, right?
After about 2 hours, I turn the oven up to 350 degrees. The porchetta took just about 4 hours to cook. You want the skin to get really crispy and golden brown.
You're probably looking at this picture and saying it doesn't look like it shrunk....and, you're right! It was just a big when it was done as it was when I put it in!
I can't believe I made this! It was so tender and juicy, and the flavors of the pork belly and the herb mixture were amazing! Believe it or not, I had plenty of leftovers. I was glad to read that this makes a delicious sandwich... I was wondering how I was going to use it up!